Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 179–185 | Cite as

The correlation between the quality of oral hygiene and oral HPV infection in adults: a prospective cross-sectional study

  • Daniel Dalla TorreEmail author
  • D. Burtscher
  • E. Sölder
  • M. Rasse
  • W. Puelacher
Original Article



Various risk factors for oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infections have been described, including tobacco smoking and sexual behavior. However, less is known about the influence of oral health on such infections. The present study aimed to determine a possible association between the quality of oral hygiene and the presence of oral HPV.


In a prospective analysis, the approximal plaque index (API), the gingival bleeding index (GBI), and the lifetime number of extracted teeth was determined in 187 patients. Additionally, the presence of oral low-risk and/or high-risk HPV was investigated by brush smear testing in all participants.


Seventy-four patients had an API < 20%, 84 participants showed an API of 20–40%, and in 29 cases, an API > 40% was recorded. Ninety-six patients presented a GBI < 20%, 75 had a GBI of 20–40%, and 16 showed a GBI > 40%. One hundred four patients had experienced one to three extractions, and 36 had lost more than three teeth. Thirty-nine participants had a positive oral HPV testing (27 high-risk HPV, 26 low-risk HPV, 14 low- and high-risk HPV). A higher API respectively GBI and a greater number of extracted teeth were significantly correlated with the presence of high-risk HPV. The presence of low-risk HPV was significantly higher in patients with API > 40% and GBI > 40% (OR 7.89). Similar results were found regarding the number of extracted teeth.


The present analysis confirms a relationship between the quality of oral hygiene, determined by objective markers. Thus, improvement of oral health may reduce the incidence of oral HPV infection.

Clinical significance

The present article investigates the relationship between oral hygiene and the presence of oral HPV. As a significant correlation between these two factors could be recorded, improvement of oral hygiene may reduce actively the incidence of oral HPV. Thereby, good oral hygiene may contribute oral cancer prevention.


Oral HPV Oral hygiene Oral cancer Plaque index Gingival index Tooth loss 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments. The study has been approved by the Ethical Committee of the Medical University of Innsbruck (nr. AN5192 328/4.8).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Clinic of Craniomaxillofacial SurgeryMedical University InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.University Clinic of ProsthodonticsMedical University InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  3. 3.University Clinic of Obstetrics and GynecologyMedical University InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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